How Did The 83rd Legislature Do On LGBT Equality?
The month of June is Gay Pride month and Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, is looking back over the 83rd legislative session to celebrate the group’s successes and develop a plan for some areas of improvement.
"This legislative session we had a record number of endorsed bills--over 30 bills--and I think that was indicative of lawmakers not being afraid to carry our legislation. I think the reality is that what we are trying to do now is mainstream Texas values," Smith said.
In past legislative sessions, Smith said Equality Texas has been on the defensive, but this is the first year the organization has had legislation in both the Senate and House.
Smith said that he's optimistic for the future.
"It is possible to build a state of equality in Texas," Smith said. "It is going to take time, it is going to take people being involved, it's going to take people supporting our work, it is also going to take money. I think the reality is that my organization is not the size that it needs to be in a state of 26 million people."
Smith said polling data shows that the majority of Texans support his organizations cause, but that they lack the ability to actively engage that public, something he’ll be working on ahead of the 2015 legislative session.